Blake weighs up options
Thursday, 17 March, 2011
Head Coach wants to see as many players as possible.
Having picked his squad for England’s final game before the crucial UEFA Elite Qualifying Round in May, Noel Blake has explained his thinking ahead of the trip to Holland later this month.
The U19s Head Coach has selected an 18-man squad for the game with several members previously uncapped at this level, but after keeping tabs on numerous players over the season, both internationally and domestically, Blake wants to make sure all of his options are resourced.
England will have to get the better of hosts Switzerland, Spain and Montenegro when they meet in the Elite Round if they are to reach the European U19 Championship Finals in the summer, so Blake is keen to see how all of his players adapt at international level.
On this occasion, Spurs pair Tom Carroll and Ryan Fredericks receive their first England call-up whilst players such as Jose Baxter, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Ravel Morrison are all aiming to get their first U19 caps after representing the U16 and U17 teams in recent years.
“There are players who were in the squad for our last game with Germany and the earlier games who aren’t included here, because we know what they can all do,” Blake explained to TheFA.com
“There is a lot of depth in the 1992 and 1993 age group, so we have to look at different players and see what they can do.
“This is a development team and we need to keep tabs on everyone, from the way they’re playing with their clubs, their behaviour and the whole package really. They’re all monitored by us.
“I want to look at as many players as I can and you have to use these games like this to look at people.”
Blake is also boosted by the return from injury of both Gary Gardner and Andre Wisdom. Villa midfielder Gardner has been missing for over a year with a knee injury sustained shortly after he capped his U19 debut off with a goal against Turkey in November 2009, whilst Liverpool’s Wisdom was ruled out for several months after picking up a knee injury in an on-field collision with team-mate Ross Barkley in the First Qualifying Round of the Euros last October.
“It’s good to have Gary Gardner back from injury, as he’s been out for 12 months with a cruciate injury,” added Blake. “He would’ve been a part of our team last season so we’re looking forward to having him back.
“Andre got his injury in Belgium last year and I’ve been to see him play a couple of times and he’s getting back to full fitness.
“Ross Barkley is also coming to the end of his rehabilitation and is back running now, so hopefully he won’t be too far away either.
“When you have players like this who have been injured on a more long-term basis, the most important thing is see them back playing.”